Monday, 26 October 2009

Another reason why I don't give in

Thanks to the Anglo Saxons, we've read Beowulf Red Fox Classics edition and The Hobbit second time through; made solemn progression to the Franks Casket; dipped into a dozen and more books about the years after the Romans and before the Normans; enjoyed ordinary days at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village once, twice, every year; jumped on the Secklow mound in Milton Keynes; and silently wept for the loss of that crumbling old house in Northumberland close to the sandswept shores of Lindisfarne.

It all makes sense anyhow, visiting Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Here Shark, Squirrel and Tiger take part in an archaeological dig, meet King Raedwald, tour the burial mounds with a guide who is dramatist, historian, storyteller, then drink hot chocolate before setting out for home.







It sounds unlikely, given this holiday lifestyle, that I can say this year has been draining and damaging. But it has been so. Not because of the sheer hard 24/7 work of it, nor the shouty, sulking, opinionated children, nor the bizarre communities of people we meet, nor for our falling down house, nor the absent husband now supping beer somewhere in Kowloon. The damage has come from constant insinuations, a steady dripdripdrip of negative press reports, a government's sneering suspicions, wondering why as home educators we deserve to be hated. The origin is the DCSF and the Badman review, and I have resented the hours I have spent there, fretting, because those hours are more precious spent elsewhere.

We have met the state half way in our choices for education; we have been supportive of local projects that explore options for children and parents; we have sought to build good relationships. By this, we thought we could look forward to a time when families can choose some school, part school, no school, un school. Throughout, we believe that education is more important than difference, and that there are as many ways of education as there are children. We extended trust, and as parents we expected to be trusted in turn.

Badman betrayed us and all of that. And if it were not for the strength and gladness of ordinary people we meet daily in our gadabout life, people like Bryan the archaeologist who bursts into warm laughter, and shakes my hand firmly on finding that Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are home educated, declaring from the heart That's the best way to live! If it were not for those people who make up our everyday world, by now I probably would have buckled under the weight.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I was looking into booking a group visit with a local RSPB leader-and when I said we were Home Educating, she just burst out with excitement that they love the HE groups. She said it was because we were there because the kids wanted to be there, she didn't have to stick with a 'plan' and she loved watching how they all learned-and we put her on her toes, because she realizes she has to teach in about 10 different ways in one session! The one draw back--Home Ed parents balk at all the health and safety silliness!

mamacrow said...

we too get so many similar postive comments and feed back - we must all just keep on keeping on, I guess!

sharon said...

Another glorious 'Field Trip' Grit. The best times and people seem to inhabit those green English fields.

Rosie LaFemmeAnglaise said...

Hi, i have just discovered your blog and like your sense of humour and openness very much.
I home school 4 kids (aged 16,12,11,10) in the south of France and have had to fight the administration tooth and nail just to keep them at home. They insist on sending officials out to test the kids...tests based on the French National Curriculum, this said curriculum being one of the main reasons for not attending school here. I have explained that we don't in fact'teach' the National curriculum at home...so therefore their tests are irrelevant...hopeless!
I have even been in very pressured and intimidating 'meetings' which were basically 7 of them verses 1 of me and them, all women, telling me "the problem is Madame that you have not adapted to French life and the 'need' for your children to be in the system"
Fight the intrusion and testing with all of your strength, it would be dreadful if the level of control and bureaucracy here in France swept into the UK.
You are right not to give in.

Rosie LaFemmeAnglaise said...

Hi, I have just discovered your blog and like your sense of humour and openness very much.
I home school 4 kids (aged 16,12, 11and 10)in the south of France and have had to fight the administration tooth and nail just to keep them at home.
They insist on sending officials out to test the kids...tests based on the French National Curriculum, this said curriculum being one of the main reasons for not attending school here.
I have explained that , we don't 'teach' the National curriculum at home...so therefore their tests are irrelevant...hopeless!
I have even been in very pressured and intimidating 'meetings' which were basically 7 of them VS me and being told most briskly "the problem is Madame that you have not adapted to French life and the 'need' for your children to be in the system"
It is true I am not feeling very 'adaptable' to teachers shaming my children and physically harming them, to playground bullies left to run riot,no creativity or sport, to mind numbingly boring worksheets and colouring in-between the lines!

Fight the intrusion and testing with all of your strength, it would be dreadful if the level of control and bureaucracy here in France swept into the UK.

You are right not to give in.

Glad to have 'found' you and looking forward to reading more...R.

Grit said...

hi elizabeth! this is so true. home ed kids can exhibit a range of wild and wonderful and normal kid behaviours, but i haven't seen some of the truly challenging, disruptive and destructive behaviour that a single schooled child who doesn't want to be there can bring to a class.

mamacrow, i think most people support diversity, and are very tolerant and understanding that there are many different ways to skin a cat. metaphorically speaking.

sharon, i never knew of these people with all these amazing interests before i had kids. my worldview was horribly narrow, and i just thought it was wide.

welcome rosie! i feel there is a europe wide movement to be intolerant of any education outside of the school system. which suggests it's not really a debate about education; it's a debate about social control. let's keep going, challenging assumptions!